Top tips for getting organised after Christmas

Has the dust settled for you after Christmas? We’ve now rung in the new year, and for many of us resolutions and goals for the year ahead are top of mind. For some that might mean allocating a day before returning to work to tackle at least one organisation project; for others that might mean staring in despair at an overflowing spare room, before closing the door and vowing to sort it out in February. Whatever your approach is, I’m here to share my top five tips for getting organised in a new year. 

Christmas decorations and wrapping paper

I’m going to put it out there – I think it’s impossible to start the year fresh with the ghosts of Christmas past serving as a constant reminder of recent history. Put the tree away or dispose of it – then turn your attention to your decorations. Instead of just chucking them all into the box/bag/cupboard to worry about in 12 months’ time, do a quick stocktake. Any decorations that are broken (especially those that have been left in storage from last Christmas!) need to be thrown out; if they no longer fit your Christmas colour scheme, add them to the donate pile. 

Now let’s deal with wrapping paper, ribbons, tape and scissors. Are they still “out” in your living room, office, or elsewhere? Then it is time for them to go home. The keyword there is home– if you don’t have a designated place that wrapping, ribbons and tape live, then create one. It doesn’t have to be large – a corner at the back of a cupboard will do the trick. Ribbons should be kept in a lidded box; ensure the box isn’t overflowing. If it is, thin it out and donate any ribbons in good condition.  

Christmas presents

Unless you have Christmas down to a lean and green fine art, there is a good chance you have received at least one gift that you will probably never use. Rather than stuff those useless (ouch!) gifts at the back of the closet (out of sight, out of mind, right!?) I encourage you to get them out of your home. You have two options and they are super obvious – I’m well aware the tip I’m about to share with you isn’t breaking new ground. My hope in sharing is that you’ll feel spurred into action to do either of the following:

  • Return/exchange – if the gifts still have the label or tag on them, and if you know where they were purchased, then you can try to return or exchange them even without a receipt. The post-Christmas window of opportunity in which you could have some luck in returning is understandably narrow, especially without a receipt, so get onto this ASAP. 

  • Donate – it may seem ungrateful and wasteful to donate a brand new item, but I suggest it is more wasteful for that item to be stuffed at the back of a cupboard where it will never be used. Instead, think of the person who may be seeking out that exact item at a great price – imagine their excitement at finding the very thing you don’t want. Their gratitude at finding it will cancel out any notion you have that you were ungrateful to give it away in the first place. 

Gift conversations

Here’s something out of left-field for a new year decluttering list – but I think it is a great way to set the tone for the year ahead (and potentially years beyond). If you have a serial offender – someone who repeatedly buys you gifts that don’t fit/aren’t right for you – see if you can gently broach the subject of giving and receiving. Here are some approaches to get you started. 

  •  “I am trying to reduce the amount of items in my home this year and I’d be so grateful for your support. I would love it if we could get together for a long lunch to catch up, instead of exchanging birthday and Christmas gifts.”

  • “This year instead of giving birthday and Christmas gifts, our family will be making donations to worthy causes. We would love it if you would consider doing the same for us – we are passionate about XYZ charity, or you could choose something close to your heart instead.”

  • “I love the gifts you choose for me every year – somehow you manage to choose the perfect design for knickers/tops/socks etc. I love that brand but the size doesn’t seem to be quite right – could you please let me know where you purchased them from, I’d love to exchange it for the right size if I can, which is XYZ.”

  • “I have a personal goal this year to make some significant progress towards my savings goal. To help me achieve my goals, I would love it if we could spend some time together instead of exchanging birthday and Christmas gifts – we could go on a day trip somewhere fun and just hang out like we used to. I’ll drive!”

These are not easy conversations to start, but if you tackle them in a way that is right for your loved one, you may actually be doing them a favour as well as yourself. 

The fridge

We don’t tend to have a lot of leftovers in general – I make enough for us to enjoy for dinner and the remainder is divvied up for lunch the following day. And I am yet to host a Christmas feast; I have only ever been the guest rather than the hostess. So while leftovers aren’t a problem for us yet (I’m sure they will be one day, with a hungry boy in our house now!), I am aware that this is something that homes all over New Zealand struggle with. If this sounds like you, I highly recommend checking out Love Food Hate Waste – they have heaps of tips and recipes to reduce food waste in your household. And even better, they have a post dedicated to dealing with Christmas leftovers – woot! 

Once you’ve tackled the leftovers, give your fridge a once over so it starts as fresh and ready for the year ahead as you are! If you need inspiration to reorganise your fridge, check out the revamp I did waaaaaay back in November (Kitchen Month). 

Donate it

The final tip is another obvious one – donate the items you’ve set aside! Don’t fall into the trap of bagging them up and then stuffing them in the back of the cupboard again, and don’t wait till your next trip to the charity shop. There probably won’t be a “next time”; you’ll need to make a special trip. Plan the date you’ll go, add it to your diary, and get that stuff out of your home. You’ll start the year ready for all the awesomeness that you can muster!


If you want the awesomeness of a new year declutter but don’t know where or how to start, let’s talk! You can book a free, 15 minute phone call with me to discuss how I can help with your organising project. Added bonus? In January I’m giving away an epic MEGA prize pack – every client that books a service in January is automatically in the draw to win.